Jugged Hare

As ancient a recipe as any still served in England. A tall fireproof jar or casserole is required, large enough to hold the hare joints and some liquid. A large earthenware crock can be used. It must stand in a saucepan of boiling water deep enough to take the foil-covered container under its own lid.

Ingredients

  • 1 hare, cleaned and jointed
  • 1⅓ cups (120 g) fine oatmeal
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and stuck with cloves
  • 1 large cooking apple, cored, peeled and cut in slices
  • 1 small lemon cut into pieces
  • ½ lb (240 g) mushrooms, sliced
  • Thyme, parsley, marjoram and 3 bay leaves, tied in a bunch or a bouquet garni
  • ½ cup (1.2 dl) red wine
  • cups (6 dl) beef stock (stock cube will do)
  • 12 forcemeat balls
  • Red-currant jelly
  • 12 pieces of toast

Method

Season the oatmeal with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and rub it over the joints of the hare. Fry the joints lightly on all sides in a little butter.

Put the head, neck and ribs (which will not be served, as there is little meat on them, but which will enrich the gravy) in the bottom of the container. Sprinkle with oatmeal. Then pack in the fried joints, and then the onion, apple, lemon, mushrooms and herbs. Sprinkle again with oatmeal and a little more salt and pepper. Mix the wine and stock and pour in to fill up the container. Cover closely with a double thickness of foil and stand in a large saucepan of boiling water. Cover the saucepan and keep boiling for 3 hours. Towards the end of the cooking time fry the forcemeat balls in a little butter.

Remove the hare joints to a serving dish and strain the gravy, discarding the head, neck and ribs of the hare.

Stir the gravy and check its seasoning. It should be dark and rich and slightly thickened by the oatmeal. Pour the gravy all over the hare. Arrange the forcemeat balls around the edge of the dish and serve very hot with red-currant jelly and 2 pieces of dry toast for each person.

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